It’s become more and more apparent over the last decade that Google has moved away from a customer acquisition model and into a monetization model; this is reflected in the way they expect brands to act as publishers if they want to get good organic rankings. It’s important to have something unique to say, a perspective to offer, a comprehensive training program or an analysis- that’s how you become a thought leader and use your knowledge to produce content that drives business. Content marketing has emerged recently as the primary method by which brands show their expertise- and it’s used to attract attention as well as “bait” for form fills to get Users into the marketing cycle. Just like traditional television advertising, you provide something of real value, and the User provides their attention.
However, there’s more than just the attention-grabbing aspect of copy- with some minor technical/mechanical optimizations, copywriters can have a strong influence on increasing the relevance of a website for specific terms by utilizing those keywords in the meta-tags and body content of web pages containing the content you’re using to drive business. Creating sufficient, naturally-written and strategic content can improve a site’s relevance and rankings, increasing the amount of prequalified traffic that arrives at the website from the search engines.
Remember, on the Internet, content’s not just for the User- you have to learn to write for the bots too, which can be a challenge. You’re likely already using a piece of content to stimulate signups on a PPC landing page- make the most of that expensive-to-produce content and optimize it for organic rankings, too. Adding well- written content that’s been optimized for relevant keyword phrases will help your website rank higher and increase visibility and traffic for other related terms.
For the purposes of this guide, we’ll assume that the content you are using to market is “gated” behind a registration form of some sort and lives on the web, rather than as a download. We’ll cover how to optimize downloadable content for SEO at the end in brief; it’s a topic all its own. Many of the techniques covered in this article apply to html web pages, as well- and if possible, that’s the format you should publish your content in, so that it’s optimized to be indexed.
For SEO: Provides a semantic roadmap to a consistent theme for your site and content for the robots to read.
For Content Marketing: Making sure that keyword research is conducted, then all efforts are aligned to it, ensures more highly qualified leads- they were already searching for what you have, they just didn’t know they were looking for you yet.
Do you even know what specific words and phrases your site is optimized for? Everything in the SEO process starts with Keyword Research- it informs content, anchor text in links, terms used in navigation and construction of site URLs, meta titles and tags, hashtags for social media- without a coordinated keyword strategy you’re just going with your gut. Keyword research is actually the time during the campaign when whoever’s running SEO has the chance to most impact the site. Once you choose keywords, everything else is affected by that choice, so it’s important to use a solid methodology as a base and tweak as you see fit. There are many available methods for doing keyword research, but the idea is to go after terms that have a good search volume but are underrepresented in Google’s index. Then, you use those keywords in your meta title and description tags, navigation links, URLs and hash tags. The idea is to build a picture so that a nonhuman as well as a human can parse what your site is about. There are too many methods and tools for keyword research to go into here- but do not skip this crucial step.
For SEO: Arguably still the most important ranking signal on the page, it’s important that keywords are at the beginning of titles and they align with content.
For Content Marketing: Clear titles provide the User an easy path to get into your sales funnel and being at the top of organic results ensures a large volume of prequalified traffic.
A page Title not only displays at the top of the browser window, but also appears as the linked text in search results. All major search engines index the Title Tag. In terms of SEO, the Title Tag is considered extremely important in helping the search engines determine the primary topic of the page. Since it is also visible to searchers, the Title tag should also encourage the person to click through to the website.
Be succinct; create a page Title that concisely and accurately describes what the page is about. Write a meta title tag that includes the keywords you want the page to rank for, and write it colloquially- the days of the keyword | keyword | brand name format for title tags are over. You should write your title tag as if it’s part of your content. Google displays up to the first 70 characters or less of the page Title, so it’s recommended to keep the Title to 70 characters or less. Consider using brand terms to get to 70 characters if you need to- use all 70 characters. The page Title should grab attention, create curiosity, and even evoke emotion to get the customer to click on the Title and visit the site.
Description Meta Tag
For SEO: There’s no direct impact on rankings from the description tag but having keywords in this tag that appear on the SERP and match the Title Tag are a good trust indicator for Users.
For Content Marketing: This is your chance to explain to the User what’s under the link, and what they can expect to find if they click through.
The Description works with the Title to attract prospects. When a prospect performs a search, the results displayed on the SERP are often the Title Tag and the Description Tag. You should spend the same amount of time writing your Title and Description as you would spend on an important ad attracting people to the page. If you don’t include a Description meta-tag, by default most search engines will use the first 30-40 words on the page, which could look very unprofessional and include heading content and/or links- not a good first contact for the User to have with your site. The description tag is your first point of contact, and the way to get your message across! Include keywords that match the title, and a call to action- ‘Click now to download our white paper on _____’ is a very powerful description tag even though it doesn’t have a direct ranking impact- because it’s got a strong call to action and compels the User to take that action.
Try to keep this tag to 155 characters or less to increase the chances that the entire meta-tag will be displayed in the search results.
Keyword Use within Content
Using variations and permutations of targeted keywords on your pages will help achieve authority for most targeted keyword phrases. Using common sense is the best tool of them all. As long as keywords are used in moderation and your pages make sense to readers an old fashion keyword density approach can also be implemented.
Keyword density describes how often a keyword or phrase is used within the body of the page. For example, a keyword density of 5% means that a keyword is used an average of 5 times for every 100 words on the page. Naturally-written text about a topic tends to have a keyword density for a main topic keyword of approximately 2% to 4%. Stuffing keywords into the content to increase relevance is seen as “spam” and usually hurts rankings. Pages with keyword densities above 10% are almost always removed by Google before too long. Incorporate keyword phrases into your content naturally, so the text flows.
Optimizing .PDF Files for Organic Rankings
While html pages are always best for organic rankings, it’s also possible to optimize .pdf files if you’d rather the User be able to download the content.
- Filename- the file name should contain keywords that have been informed by keyword resarch.
- Text-based files- use plain text in .PDF files- it’s still difficult for Google to read words that are part of a picture.
- SET YOUR TITLE TAG using the Document Properties menu. This is the meta title tag for the file!
- Keep file sizes light
- Save using the earliest possible version of Reader; this ensures that the highest number of people will be able to use the material
Take the time to give the content you use for Inbound Marketing a Search Engine Optimization pass. SEO is a force multiplier that makes everything you do more impactful- it’s worth the extra effort.